Cheryl Tice

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

William Morris


The study’s purpose was to describe the processes, experiences, and beliefs of individuals involved in a collaborative action research project to develop a digital citizenship curriculum in Upstate Intermediate School. Teachers there did not systematically teach digital citizenship skills at the fifth- and sixth-grade levels. Facilitating the development of responsible online behaviors is vital. The study examined three research questions: (a) fifth- and sixth-grade teachers’ perceptions of barriers to integrating digital citizenship skills in their instruction; (b) their perceptions of the essential components of a digital citizenship curriculum in the context; and (c) their perceptions of being involved in co-creating a digital citizenship implementation plan.Using social constructivism as a theoretical framework, a design team created a digital citizenship plan based on participants’ (N = 38) perspectives related to digital citizenship. Data sources included surveys, interviews, document review, a research journal, and design team exit discussion. Quantitative data from descriptive statistics were calculated and analyzed. Most participants self-reported medium to high frequency of technology use, comfort levels with technology, and awareness of digital citizenship. Qualitative data were analyzed using inductive analysis. Results supported answering the research questions. Teachers understand the importance of digital citizenship skills and expressed concern about students' understanding of their digital footprint. Students need support as they begin establishing their digital identities. Barriers to skills instruction related to access, time, beliefs, and awareness. Solutions included prioritizing the skills, having one location for teaching the skills, reinforcing them in the classroom, and inviting parents to support. Design team members (n = 6) reported that they gained more insight into the depth of digital citizenship concepts, despite high ratings overall in their self-reported data for digital citizenship awareness. They recognized that it was more than [they were] originally thinking. Implications, recommendations, and limitations have been included in chapter five.